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Full text of "Alaskan glacier studies of the National Geographic Society in the Yakutat Bay, Prince William Sound and lower Copper River regions"

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Location. The glaciers discussed in this chapter are situated in northeastern Prince William Sound, upon the long narrow fiord called Port Valdez (PL XCHI), already alluded to as the northernmost of the fiords on the east side of Prince William Sound, where it penetrates most deeply into the Chugach Mountains.
The Port Valdez Fiord. The Port Valdez fiord extends northward from the northeast corner of Prince William Sound, between Glacier Island and Bligh Island just northwest of Ellamar, where it has a width of ten miles and a depth of 600 to 1300 feet. This lower portion of the fiord has Galena, Jack, and Sawmill Bays as tributaries, and narrows rapidly toward the northeast, until it attains a width of less than seven-eighths of a mile at Valdez (or Stanton) Narrows, where the depth is less than 500 feet and where a reef (Middle Rock) rises to the surface with surrounding depths of 180 to 300 feet. Here the fiord turns abruptly eastward, receiving Shoup Bay on the north side, widening to between three and four miles, and increasing in depth to 600 and in places over 800 feet. The southwest portion, outside the Narrows, is twenty miles long, the eastern part eleven or twelve miles. The shores have many minor capes, coves and small inlets and are mostly rocky.
At the eastern or extreme upper end Port Valdez shallows and there is a fringe of broad tide flats where Lowe River comes in from the east and Robe River and a number of other glacial streams from Corbin and Valdez Glaciers on the northeast. The narrower, unsubmerged valley of Lowe River extends the fiord valley eastward for twelve miles to the mouth of Keystone Canyon, beyond which the river heads against the Copper River headwaters on Thompson and Marshall passes. Other streams entering Port Valdez, beside those from the Valdez and Shoup Glacier valleys, are Mineral Creek, Fall or Gold Creek, and Canyon Creek, on the north, and Solomon Gulch and other unnamed creeks on the south. Several of these streams are in hanging valleys <h, Fig. 26).
The mountains enclosing the fiord rise four or five thousand feet within a mile or two of the shore, and five or six thousand feet a short distance further back. These mountains encircling Port Valdez maintain permanent snowfields which feed minor ice tongues. Of these there are three east of Solomon Gulch, Annin Glacier and three others between Valdez Narrows and Shoup Glacier, one in Fall or Gold Creek, the Corbin and Hogback Glaciers east of Valdez, and the Valdez and Shoup Glaciers which are to be more iully described.
The town of Valdez is at the extreme eastern or upper end of the fiord near the north side; and opposite it on the south shore, near the site of the former settlement called Swanport, is Fort Liscum, a United States army post.